WHAT ARE THE MAIN FEATURES OF ARMOR FOR DOGS?
The harness is engineered to be lightweight with a streamlined profile so the K9’s mobility and agility aren’t restricted while on doggy detail.
The exterior shell of the vest is normally made of hard-wearing Cordura and incorporates the following:
- A number of load-bearing D- or V-ring hookups for attaching dog leashes of any length
- A single or dual top carry handle for when the handler needs to lift, steer, or control their dog
- Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment [MOLLE] webbing on the sides and top in order to mount accessories such as a med kit, flash light, or ID tags
- Chest and flank buckles and strapping to ensure the vest’s quick to put on and adjustable to a proper fit, especially for when the dogs need to be deployed ASAP
On the inside of the harness, there’s a removable mesh lining with cooling and moisture-wicking properties to help keep the working dog dry and comfortable even while in hot pursuit.
WHAT ABOUT THE PROTECTIVE MATERIAL ITSELF?
Yes, let’s not forget those all-important soft armor panels which largely contain DuPont Kevlar. These are positioned to shield the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys as well as non-vital organs of the dog’s torso from a deadly blow.
At least five times stronger than steel, the Kevlar forms a ‘net’ of tightly woven and multi-stacked fibers–tough enough, as it happens, to trap incoming bullets and resist stabs from knives (if stab proof protection has been added to the vest.)
The protective material works in two ways – firstly, by deadening much of the impact of the projectile as well as redistributing its energy across the entire armor; and secondly, by deforming the tip of the ammo into a far less harmful mushroom-like shape.
HOW HEAVY IS DOG BODY ARMOR?
The weight is influenced not only by the size of the harness, but also what level of protective material it bears. On average though, for medium and large breeds, loaded canine body armor runs in the region of 4lbs.
WHY DO DOGS NEED BODY ARMOR?
- High-risk of injury: For military and law enforcement dogs, encountering potentially life-defying situations comes with the territory. In fact, they’re even more in danger than their human handlers since they’re often sent in ahead to perform tasks ranging from detecting explosive devices to tackling armed felons.
- Expensive to train: It costs around $20,000 to $40,000 to train a military K9 ( $150,000 to make them explosive detection experts)!
- It saves their lives: There are plenty recorded saves of K9s having been kitted out with body armor.
Gabo, an 8-year-old German Shepherd K9 with the Jonesboro Arkansas Police Department, was saved by a ballistic and stab proof vest after being shot five times on a mission. He made a full recovery and is back to work now!